Joel Osteen falls victim to hoax claiming he quit over ‘lack of faith’

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joelosteen

A screen grab from the fake Joel Osteen website.

Reports of Pastor Joel Osteen’s resignation from the popular church he founded have been greatly exaggerated.

Pranksters went through the trouble of creating a convincing-looking fake website claiming the Houston-based evangelist had left the Lakewood Church, the megachurch he founded in 1999. And the reason was a headline-grabbing shocker: He had developed a “lack of faith.”

It wasn’t yet clear who was behind the hoax, which even had impressive social-media chops, coming complete with a YouTube video and Twitter page, which was suspended later Monday afternoon.

The fake website is called joeleolstenministries.com, while the real deal is joelosteen.com. But as the Houston Chronicle points out, both sites are hard to tell apart.

The fake website bolstered its case by publishing convincing-looking fake articles that would have made the editors at The Onion proud, purportedly from news sites such as CNN.

The fake CNN headline blares: “Pastor of mega church resigns, rejects Christ.”

His “official” statement contains even more unlikely words:.

“I believe now that the Bible is a fallible, flawed, highly inconsistent history book that has been altered hundreds of times. There is zero evidence the Bible is the holy word of God. In fact, there is zero evidence “God” even exists.”

The Twitter account remains active, and posted Monday afternoon that there’s “nothing fake here.”

Snopes and other sites were quick to indicate otherwise.

And Osteen’s own church finally cleared the air,  calling it a “false rumor,” the Houston Chronicle reported.

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